Cap Sac ritual of Dao people in North Vietnam
In the traditional rituals of the Dao people, there is a special ritual called the Cap Sac, it is only for men. Dao people think that if men have not passed the ritual, they are still considered as children. Persons who passed the ritual are considered to be adults even though they are still young, they will have chance to participate in the important work of the village and help the shaman.
Ceremony is usually held in November, December or January each year, as this is a free time. The ceremony was selected very carefully, the Red Dao and Dao Tien usually graduated from the age of 12 to 30 while in the Long Dress Dao is 11 to19 years old. The Red Dao can hold up to a maximum of 13 people (if less than it must be an odd number) at the chief house of family. But the Long Dress Dao is only for one person at a time and at his home. Near the ceremony, families have to send people to bring gifts to shaman, worshipers must abstain singing, quarrels, sleeping with others. To serve rituals and incentives to the villagers to witness, families must prepare essential items such as pigs, rice, wine, clothes…
Each group of Dao has a rank: Red Dao and Long Dress Dao have 7 lamps, Dao Tien has 3 lamps. Each ceremony must have 6 shamans to take responsible for the various tasks. All the shamans must worship ghosts at the altar of their ancestors to ask for blessings and helps. At the ceremony, they hang the Jade Emperor and the gods of the Dao, set up the altar of the ancestors of worshipers and altars of the gods. When performing the ceremony, the shamans must perform a lot of offerings, dance, magical gestures according to books. The worshiper and his wife also must perform many ceremonial movements as instruction of the shaman. In all Dao groups, after completing the complex rituals, the shamans have to give thanks to the ancestors and gods so that the sacred ritual ends.